I just stumbled across the option to create blog posts and thought why not. Whether I write any more after this one only Pythia would know (if she were still here!).
So what am I going to write about? I feel like this is going to be a Virginia Woolf stream of conscious exercise!
Let me kick off with my study experience at the Open University so far; a journey which, in such a short space of time, has had quite a profound impact on my life!
Coming into the course (I signed up right at the last minute - perhaps a week before the deadline - after an incomplete attempt a few years ago), I knew that I wanted to study for personal development, but that as a concept was vague and poorly defined. However as the course has progressed, I've found that my goals have become much more definite which has helped massively for being motivated to study.
There was actually a definable turning point where everything just clicked into place, and it was largely in response to one of the chapters in the D110 textbook on learning. In this chapter, the author talks about and explores a few concepts which really resonated with me, and it felt like this was the missing piece I needed to connect seemingly disparate aspects of my life which, in turn, provided clarity and definition on what was up until this point, just hazy concepts.
Since reading about these concepts - these were the notions of intrinsic motivation and the effects of being intrinsically motived, deep processing and active learning - I began to make conscious changes to my behaviour. I explored in more detail what 'personal development' looked like to me both in an academic sense and in a personal context, and I also made a radical shift in my approach to study from the position of the aforementioned concepts.
Since adopting these ideas, I have found that my motivation for study has increased exponentially, and I think it has a lot to do with knowing exactly why it is that I am studying. It's interesting looking back at my notes over the past weeks leading up to this epiphany; they're inconsistent in their approach and reflective of a person trying to find their feet. I was watching a lot of videos on YouTube and trying out different methods - at first I did what just felt natural - but nothing felt quite right. I was constantly playing catch up and a lot the ideas weren't sticking in my mind, add to that, that I didn't have a solid routine in place and was cramming in large chunks of studying and then missing a few days, which never helps for retaining new information.
Now I find myself thinking about studying a lot, talking about what I've been learning with friends and family and discussing the ideas presented in the course materials. In fact, a lot of the time I can't wait to hit the tomes, ask questions of the information presented to me and write my thoughts down in my notebook. As a result, I'm finding that the ideas are staying with me and I'm getting a better understanding of the concepts, and when they remain unclear I ask questions to my tutors or post on the cluster forum (in full disclosure both of which I've only done once so far!).
I've also signed up to the OU Psychology Society and The Open Psychology Research Centre Collaboration Lab, I'm reading journals and papers, its like I can't get enough and what's even more important is, I'm really enjoying the journey!
I'm not sure if anyone will read this but, if you're a student reading this and you've made it this far, I hope that there may be something in my experience which you find useful; perhaps having a look at the chapter on learning in D110 (if you have access to these materials, you can always google them if not) and think about applying some of the ideas expressed, or you may take some time to really think about what your goals are and what they look like. I don't want this to come across as some self-aggrandising post - although I can't ultimately help how people perceive it - it's just when you have a good thing, it feels good to share it out!